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Facebook Privacy The Almighty Buck

Facebook Adds 96 Million Shares, Will Privacy Get Worse After IPO? 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the ramping-up-farmville-production dept.
AlistairCharlton writes "Facebook has made yet another amendment to its S-1 filing, adding a further 96 million shares, pushing its initial public offering up to a potential maximum of $18.4bn (£11.5bn). In what is the eighth amendment to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook has also increased the number of shares allowed for over allotment, up from 50.6 million to 63.2 million." Facebook will have a lot of pressure to increase revenue after it goes public. jfruh writes in with a story about how that will impact their privacy policies. "There's been a steady drumbeat of panics over the past few years involving how Facebook uses the personal information you give it; nevertheless, someday you'll look back at 2012 as the golden age of Facebook privacy. That's because, once Facebook has its IPO, it'll come under huge pressure from the markets to extract more revenue from its business. And with display advertising not generating game-changing amounts of money, Facebook has only one valuable resource: your data, which is going to be monetized as hard as possible."
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Facebook Adds 96 Million Shares, Will Privacy Get Worse After IPO?

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  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @04:13PM (#40021093) Homepage Journal

    They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximise profits, so of course they will do that by reducing privacy

    Which will, of course, result in successful lawsuits and fines in Canada and the EU.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @04:14PM (#40021101) Journal

    They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximise profits, so of course they will do that by reducing privacy

    Do you know that Facebook will have 1 shareholder with 55.8% of the voting shares?
    That shareholder is CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

    Zuckerberg e could do whatever he wants with Facebook after the IPO and never have to work another day in his life.
    The only shareholder that matters doesn't need maximized profits.
    How do facts jive with your "reduce privacy to maximise profits" ideology?

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @04:28PM (#40021277)

    Don't know about selling data, but their astroturfing unit seems to be running at full steam.

    Take a look at the original post. I SAID LOOK AT IT! Holy shit! IT'S FUCKING BEAUTIFUL. The grammar and punctuation is impeccable. It's the longest, most intensive, best edited FIRST POST! I've ever seen. Complete with embedded links! Almost as if he had it typed and ready to paste in advance of this story. Oh, and it's the only story ever commented on by a brand new ID. Get bent, astroturfer. We like Google better than you. Suck on it.

    I can top that... google his name, it shows up nowhere on the entire internet except this /. story. If you're gonna astroturf, at least have the brains to use a name like "john doe" or "a5tr0turf3r".

    Can someone with a FB account search for him on FB? I deleted my account well over a year ago so I can't search FB.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @04:46PM (#40021513)

    Google, unlike Facebook, actually makes money.

    In the year before its IPO (2003), google profited $106M [wikipedia.org].

    In the year before its IPO (2011), facebook profited $1,000M [bbc.co.uk].

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:18PM (#40021855) Homepage Journal

    Do you know that Facebook will have 1 shareholder with 55.8% of the voting shares?

    I am pretty sure that Facebook is required to maximize the profit of all its investors, despite the fact that one investor holds a majority stake. As CEO, Zuckerberg does have a duty to all of Facebook's investors, not just his own vision...

    I think, more accurately, that Zuckerberg has a duty to do what was promised in the IPO filings with the SEC. I haven't read them, so I don't know what's in there, but they could say he's planning to drive Facebook's share value to $0, and he'd have a legal obligation to try to do just that, and could be sued for trying to increase shareholder value.

    Now, that would obviously be silly, but the serious point is that if the plans laid out for potential shareholders to read include a focus on maintaining user privacy, or even just a focus on long-term value over short term value, then Zuckerberg would not be obligated to monetize as hard as he can. Rather he'd be obligated to balance the competing goals in accordance with shareholder expectations (which are defined by the filings). Even if they don't contain anything like that, it's still no slam dunk that he has to do whatever he can to maximize short-term profits. Abusing users' privacy too badly will erode the user base, which will damage the company long term.

    With all that said, the pattern that has been established is that Facebook takes two steps forward into user privacy abuse, then takes a half step back. Lather, rinse repeat. What I expect is for FB to continue pretty much exactly like it has, with the net effect being a gradual erosion.

A holding company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you.

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